Talented London based journalist Katie Treggiden runs an award winning design blog called Confessions of a Design Geek. We met during Blog Tour NYC last spring and became fast friends. I am flattered that Katie has invited me “explore” the San Francisco Bay Area with her readers and share some of my absolute favorite design, food and resting spots.
You can read all about my picks over at Confessions of a Design Geek today…
Thank you Katie for asking me to do this. What a pleasure!
I met a girlfriend for lunch the other day at Boot and Shoe Service, a really fun neighborhood restaurant in Oakland located in… you guessed it… an old shoe repair shop. It’s one of my favorite places so I wanted to share some of the photos I snapped.
The exposed brick makes the joint feel cozy and the rustic bar in the rear of the restaurant has sort of a speakeasy feel while churning out fresh and amazing cocktails. Enjoy the handmade pizzas from the wood burning oven or try the rigatoni and meatballs. Delicious.
For those of you that stop by frequently, you know I rarely touch on fashion topics. Don’t get me wrong, I adore fashion, but I’m more likely to buy a piece of art or a fabulous weekend away than a fancy bag or Christian Louboutin shoes. But this fashion site is right up my alley and I just had to share.
Vaunte is a site where you can purchase clothes literally right out of enviable and truly curated closets. I jumped on some black Gucci sunglasses from stylist, editor and blogger, Tienlyn Jacobson’s closet for only $105. I can’t wait for them to arrive. Go check it out. Total high fashion but affordable and fun…
A few snapshots from my day trip to the Napa Valley last week. Spring has sprung in wine country.
Check out this dreamy Victorian Southampton house, renovated to perfection and brought to us by Elle Decor.
I love the original brick fireplace they kept in the kitchen and the endless line of perfect light fixtures throughout the home.
The guest room walls were painted in Benjamin Moore Tudor Brown which is unexpected but works perfectly with the fresh white bedding, lighting, art and accents.
Thank you Elle Decor for letting us feature this beautiful home.
Over the past 10 years, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico has become a special place for the hubby and I. We vacationed there, we were married there and we continue to go for special celebrations and sun drenched relaxation.
That’s what made it ever better when I met professional photographer, Amy Bennett, as she was shooting away at a beautiful wedding we attended in Baja last spring. She inspired me when I learned she had taken a leap of faith and packed up her family and left the Vermont snow… to call Cabo home. I had a million questions for the happy, friendly and talented mother of three and she was kind enough to answer.
If you have a family trip planned to Cabo in the future, or just want some insider tips for your next romantic getaway, her insight is a must read below. I hope you enjoy.
How did a girl from Vermont end up living in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with three small children?
Back in 2009, I had just given birth to my third daughter, Kate. One day my husband sent me an email saying, “I just received a job offer… would you ever consider moving to Cabo?” Within seconds I responded “!#@$?…YES!” It took another 6 months to solidify the job. David says that I would have moved whether he got the job or not! I was ready for a change from the cold and cloudy (but beautiful) state of Vermont. In February 2010, we had a two day yard sale and sold or gave away everything that we owned. David and his brother drove two cars, our dog Gaby, and the rest of our belongings from Vermont to Cabo. It took 8 days! It is a 24 hour drive from San Diego to Cabo! It was a great decision…We haven’t regretted it for a second.
What led you to a career in photography?
A career in photography was always a dream of mine. From a very young age, I was one of those people who always had a camera on them. My mom bought me my first Canon SLR camera when I was 14. I always loved taking pictures of people. One of my friends recently said she never brought a camera anywhere, because she knew that I would have a camera and take much better pictures. Anyway, I eventually went to business school and after graduation worked in marketing and events for the PGA Tour and Mercedes-Benz USA. At that time, photography was still a passion of mine and I was thrilled when Canon came out with an affordable digital SLR. I started studying photography and taking classes when I left the working world to stay at home with the kids. When we moved to Cabo, I decided to invest in professional equipment and launch the business. I couldn’t think of a better location to have a wedding photography business!
Three tricks for taking a great photograph of someone?
1. Use backlighting. Look for the shadow of the person and stand directly on the tip of the shadow. That way the persons face will be completely turned away from the sun. Also, the person won’t squint due to the harsh sun.
2. Fill the Frame and use a zoom lens. My favorite lens to use for taking portraits, couples or even group shots is the Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 zoom lens. By using this lens instead of a “short lens” I can stand farther away from the subject(s), but still fill the frame. I feel like people relax a bit more when the camera is farther away.
3. Have fun, make jokes and laugh! The more comfortable the person is with the photographer, the better the photos are going to turn out!
Any “go to” scenic locations in Cabo for all of us photography buffs.
There is an endless number of beautiful locations to shoot in Cabo. The beaches are amazing, but you should try to shoot on the beach at sunset and sunrise. I like to stick to the beaches with the least amount of people for my photo shoots. The beach between the Hilton Los Cabos Beach Resort and Dreams Resort on the Sea of Cortez is perfect. The beaches North of Cabo are always empty and there are the most beautiful dunes, especially around Diamante. I love shooting around town in Cabo, too. I would recommend shooting around the traditional Mexican Haceinda-style homes and resorts.
Lots of buzz about all the 5 star hotels on the scene down in Baja now. Do you have a favorite?
The most dramatic and most “buzzed” about hotel right now is definitely Capella Pedregal. It is located on the Pacific coast and is very close to the marina & downtown Cabo. It sits up against the mountains of Pedregal and you have to pass through a 300-meter private tunnel to get to the Resort! It seems to be gaining popularity with the celebrity crowd!
What do you miss the most about living in the United States?
Target, camera stores and on-line deliveries.
Do you surf? Where should we head in Baja for good waves?
I do not surf, but I am hoping that my girls learn one day… Cerritos Beach is located about 30 minutes North of Cabo and is the best place to learn. If you are a solid surfer, there is a good spot at Cabo Surf Hotel in San Jose del Cabo.
Where should we stay with the kids?
I would recommend staying at one of the Resorts on the Sea of Cortez if you want a swimmable beach. It is not safe to swim in the Pacific Ocean in Cabo. A good option in the mid-range budget would be the Hilton. If money wasn’t a concern, I would stay at Las Ventanas or Capella Pedregal. Both resorts are very kid friendly.
Best snorkel spot?
Where should we go for a family dinner?
Our family loves Hacienda Cocina. It is located on Medano beach near the marina. The restaurant overlooks the Bay and Land’s End (the arches). They have yummy, traditional Mexican food at a VERY reasonable price for Cabo. You must try the Carnitas, the churros and the cuatro leche cake. Amazing!
What do you do for family fun on the weekends?
We like to go to the beach. Our favorite beaches are Santa Maria, Chileano, or Cerritos. What kid doesn’t love the beach!?! We have started to take mini-trips around the Cabo area. We went to Bahia de los Suenos a few months back and we are planning to go to La Paz soon.
Learn more about Amy Bennett Photography here.